Russia has made public a list of demands for security guarantees from NATO that seek to limit the Western military bloc’s role in Ukraine and the former Soviet space.
Weeks of Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border have raised alarm in the West that Russia might invade Ukraine as early as January. Moscow, meanwhile, blames NATO for provocations and threatening its security.
Russia has repeatedly said it wants a legally binding guarantee that Ukraine will never join NATO and that the alliance will halt its expansion toward Russian borders.
In the list of demands published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website on Friday, Moscow asks NATO to abandon all military activities not just in Ukraine, but also Eastern Europe, the Caucasus region and Central Asia.
Russia also asks the U.S. not to establish any new military bases on the territory of former Soviet states and for NATO to guarantee that it will block future membership for any former Soviet republic.
Another point seeks to reaffirm that Moscow and the U.S.-led alliance “do not consider each other adversaries” and that the two will “resolve all disputes peacefully and refrain from the use of force.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry handed the list to visiting U.S. diplomat Karen Donfried this week and President Vladimir Putin reiterated his demand that talks between the U.S.and NATO on international legal guarantees for Russia’s security begin “immediately.”
Deputy Foreign Ministry Sergei Ryabkov told journalists in Moscow on Friday that Russia was “ready as early” as Saturday to begin security talks with the U.S.
The EU on Thursday rejected Russia’s bid to block Kiev’s NATO ambitions and repeated that it will impose “massive consequences and severe costs” on Russia if the country decides to invade Ukraine.
Earlier this week, a senior Russian diplomat warned that Russia will respond “militarily” if the Western military bloc does not guarantee an end to its eastward expansion.
(c) The Moscow Times